Echos of My Neighbourhood: Support Through the Good and The Bad — Family.


University Graduation May 2007
 
It’s difficult for me to believe I graduated from university nine-years ago. That it will be a decade in 2017 blows my mind. These are my Dad and my Mom with me in the photograph, and I have to say I would have never made it to graduation, or in the years post graduation without my parents. 

It was a funny thing, when I first became ill and had to go in hospital in 2009, I wasn’t thinking straight, but the only thing which got me through the long days in the hospital was that my parents were going to come visit me at 5:30 pm. The entire three-weeks I was in the hospital, they came every night and stayed until visiting hours were over at 8:00 pm.

 My Dad would come first and he would read to me and play cribbage with me. I have always loved how my Dad’s voice sounded when he read a book outloud. I remember him reading devotions to my brothers and I when we were small kids. The boo my Dad read to me was called A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was an excellent book but at the sametime it terrified me because in my mind, my own situation related to one of the woman characters. All through the first week at the hospital I was still delusional, but my parents never let me down. 

Christmas Family Photography with Grandma, my brothers, and Dad.

I think I would have cried had my parents not come to the hospital one day, even when my thinking became clear and organized in the second week after I started taking a medication which almost immediately stopped my delusions. I learned later, how tiring it was for my parents to work all day and visit me in hospital each night. On weekends I had a pass to come home, and it must have been a relief to them to relax a bit. When I was able to be in my own bed I felt safe again. In the hospital before I was on the correct medication to stop my delusions, I believed I was in a sort of Hell and that you couldn’t have parents in Hell, so eventually I was going to lose my parents. 

Then the medications started working. My delusions went away. I wasn’t scared to be at the hospital anymore. But I still counted down the hours until my parents came. While I healed initially at home, I became much closer with my family. My Godparents, my Great-Grandma Reeder, My Grandma Eifert, and even my brothers, I realized I’d been neglecting. I hugged my brothers when I first came home and saw them. I don’t recall hugging them before that except when I was a child. I think they were both embarrassed but they both patted my back.

Before my episode, I was wrapped up in work and my social life. I had responsibilities at work which would have continued to grow and turn into not only a full work day but networking events at night during the week and weekends. I would have had ” a career,” but I doubt now I would have loved it.

It would have been fun I think but I’m glad life didn’t go that way. I learned to value my family so much more. My parents have let me stay at home while I have been healing for eight-years and they charge me little rent so I can save money and pay off my debts. My Mom drives me to places often. We do things together and Mom takes me to get a blood test every week and to pick-up some necessities at the local drugstore or the mall. I have gone on vacations with both my parents to Las Vegas and Phoenix. I have gone on a couple of trips with only my Mom and one with by brother N. 

 

Christmas Family. Photograph with Grandma, my Brothers, and Mom.
 
I have learned from my experiences in the past, you can depend on your family and that they will love and support you through good and bad times. At some point when I’m a bit more able to be independent, I will move out. I wonder what I will do without my Mom at night and weekends to talk to and make plans with. I wonder who I will talk to about sports with when my Dad and I don’t live in the same house. I wonder, but I know even when I am on my own, I will have the support of my family.

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Thanks to Jacqueline from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for hosting Echos of My Neighbourhood each Thursday.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

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A List of My 10 most Favourite, “Couldn’t Put Down” Books.


1.  

http://www.en.wikipedia.com
 
I first read this book in University in an English course. It’s about a Baptist family who leave Georgia in the US to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo. The book is narrated by the family’s mother Orleanna at the beginning of each of the books seven sections. After, each of her four daughters narrate their experiences. Especially, her daughter Leah. The family’s Dad is a crazy Baptist Preacher who will not leave the Congo despite his families extreme difficulties there. The family is forever changed by their experiences as missionaries. This book is life changing. So, interesting and exceptionally written as all of Barbara Kingsolver’s books are. It is even on Oprah’s booklist!

2.  

 
I read this book in University with Dr. McNamara. It is a book about a group of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Some make it home and some soldiers don’t. They carry with them their individual burdens and the burdens they take on in Vietnam. They carried their burdens home with them and if they survived, through out their lives. “They carried the malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. If they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb.” 

3. 

http://www.goodreads.com
 
I honestly hated studying Thomas Hardy’s poetry. He was a depressed guy with a horrible outlook on society, mankind, God, and himself. But he did write a great book when he wrote Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The book is about Tess’ fall, so to speak. She is a peasant girl who falls in love with Angel, the vicor’s sun. Angel holds Tess to a high ideal. He expects her to be the perfect loving wife he wants her to be. When he finds out Tess is not so perfect, that she was raped, he breaks the betrothal off. Tess must deal with the loss of love and make a new life for herself despite Angel’s blindness.

4.  

http://www.en.wikipedia.org
 
Not so much poetry as an epic, this epic chronicles John Milton’s interpretation of the creation of the world and the universe; the fall of Satan and his demons who oppose God and are cast into Hell;  the fall of man, God’s best creation, with help from Satan; and how the world works after man has fallen due to eating the fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. The lines of poetry are beautiful and eloquent throughout the story. Even though Paradise Lost is long at times, and difficult to read if you don’t read poetry well, it is an amazing story. I learned a lot about my own religion, Christianity, through Paradise Lost, since much of what Milton wrote was based on the Bible and other religious Catholic books. But I’m not Catholic though. 

5.  

  

This book is brutal and awful at times. I think it opened my eyes to how terrible some people can truly be when I read it in second year university. The book compares Dorothy who is a fat, frumpy, and a proofreader with a lurid imagination; with Justine who is smart, slim, and “compulsively” sexual. Justine is a freelance journalist who interviews Dorothy about her past “involvement with a cheesy cult leader.” The book is eye opening, especially the sexual abuse and rape Dorothy received as a girl, and the awful destructive relationship Justine finds herself in with a man who could easily kill her. This is not a nice book but it will make you think twice about how screwed up certain people truly are.

6.  

 
I think Faking It by Jennifer Cruisie is my favourite chick literature book I have ever read. I can’t say why so much. It is only that the characters are so vivid and appealing. Matilda runs the Goodnight Gallery of Art, she inherited it from her father when he died. She has a secret in her past that she is willing to steal back to keep. She runs into Davy, on her first attempt to burgle a secret painting back. 

Davy is an ex con man who was ripped off three million dollars by his financial manager who turned the money over to Davy’s ex Clea. Davy will do anything to get his money back. Davy and Matilda join forces to stop “Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, an exasperated hitman, a mutant dachshund,  a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the realization they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be,” or love. It’s a good one I promise. You will fall in love with the Goodnight family and Davy.

7. 

 
As you can see, this is a well worn and loved book. It’s a fantastic twentieth- century mystery. Rachel Verinder inherits a fabulous yellow diamond. Outside her house are Hindu priests who have waited centuries to reclaim their talisman looted from the ancient and Holy city of Somnauth. Someone steals Rachel’s diamond. No one is what they seem and nothing can be taken for granted in this story.”Witnesses, suspects, and detectives take up the story in turn.” The Moonstone is suspenseful and fascinating with a surprise ending no one would guess. This book made me look into more mystery books and the ending is unpredictable. I loved it.

8.  

 
This is an extremely old story written poetically in old English. I think I have read it too many times to count. But you can read the book retold in prose if you wish. Sir Gawain is challenged in King Author’s court, to chop of the Green Knight’s head. If he can’t do it, then the Green Knight will have the chance to chop off Sir Gawain’s head. Sir Gawain fails so he journeys to find a way he can save his own neck. He comes across a Lord and his Lady in their castle, where he breaks from his journey. He is encouraged three times by the Lady to sleep with her, even though she is married and through her, Gawain discovers a way to save his head from the Green Knight, or so he thinks.

9. 

  
Madeline L’engle is a young adult writer I grew up reading. I received this book as a present when I was ten-years-old. It’s about sixteen-year-old Vickie who gets to go with her friend Adam’s Aunt Serena on a trip to Antartica for a birthday present. Not to mention, Vickie’s friend/crush Adam will be working at one of the research stations in Antartica. Vickie discovers many of the people on the trip are not what they seem and her trip turns into an adventure both thrilling and dangerous. I reread this book so many times when I was young. I wanted to be like Vickie and travel. Also, I loved the poetry in the book. It’s superb.

10. 

 
Not a reading book. But a handy book to have as a writer. Once you’re out of English classes you can forget a whole lot of terms you learned to describe in a poem or book. Or, when writing an essay and you need to define what “alliterative” means, it’s all in here. This is probably on the internet now, but it was useful in my English degree and I still use it to this day. 

Thanks for reading. Also, many thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for this weeks list challenge.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Krampus


Amber was afraid of Santa. She couldn’t tell you why. He gave her a scared feeling. A feeling a four-year-old didn’t enjoy. 

As the line became shorter Amber began to clench her little fists and grit her teeth. She didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap.

“What’s wrong Amber?” Her Aunt Kylie asked, ” don’t you wan’t to see Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas? You’ve been a good girl, right? So, it will be no problem for you and you’ll get a candy cane,” said Aunt Kylie.

Amber pursed her lips and stomped up and down. “No Santa. Santa is bad. I don’t want to see him; this Santa is not the real Santa.”

Aunt Kylie shrugged and patted Ambers mess of hair. Amber waited and her fear of Santa increased ten fold when she went up to him and an elf put her on St. Nick’s knee.

It was then before Amber’s eyes Santa’s face changed. His eyes were black as coal and face changed into a monster with horns. He looked at Amber and smiled malevolently.

“Hello Amber” he whispered to her, “my name is Krampus. When you’re a naughty girl you go on my list. And when I come to your house Christmas Eve there will be no presents. I’m going to whip you with chains and lashes and take you down to the firey place all bad children go.”

Amber screamed loudly and Krampus transformed back into St. Nick. Aunt Kylie apologized for Amber’s outburst and Santa laughed and gave Amber a candy cane and an elf snapped a picture of Amber and Santa. Amber continued to squirm and push against Santa the whole time and Santa told her to be good as if he was a kindly gentlemen. 

But Amber knew what she saw and heard. She knew come Christmas Eve, Krampus would come for her. So, on Christmas Eve she hid with a gun she knew her Daddy kept in his bedside table. And when Krampus came to find her she hid under the bed. But he pulled her out anyways and tried to whip her body. Then Amber pulled the trigger at his head and screamed.

Aunt Kylie, Mom, Dad, and Kylie’s boyfriend Vince all came running out to Amber’s room. They were all shocked to see a vile beast lying dead on Amber’s floor, a bullet hole in his forehead. He had cloven hooves and horns and a curly white beard. His skin was gray and disgusting and his eyes were terrifying. Even dead, they were evil and contained knowledge of a hell, where the worst children would go. 

Amber laughed. She hugged her Daddy’s knee and pointed to the dead Krampus on the floor joyfully. 

  
Thanks to Alastair Forbes for hosting and Merry Christmas! 

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Poetry: That Road


This is the slow road to hell, sinking in this summer heat.
A lonileness so deep, you would never even believe it.
Occupy yourself, no one can live life for you.
But I’m down that road and there’s nothing that I can do.

See these lines on the horizon, they lead to nothing,
They lead to nowhere, and it’s there I must be going.
Spend some time with me, well you’ve planned every weekend,
And I’m down that road, it’s a road that no one’s going.

Read everything, caught some sun, drank some inspirational tequila.
You’ll never see me going, your living your life like the wind blowing.
Fan the flames that this summer heat waves maken’.
I feel incomplete the more time life is a going.

I never made that choice to be a part and be frustrated.
You live your lives, you don’t think of me,
If I’m not in that moment, it’s to hell I must be going.
But I’m on that road, and it’s a solitary journey.

You’ll never know that kind of isolation, in your own lives.
I know you you’d never be forgotten, but you’ll never slow.
All these fake tears, well the sun burns those to salt.
And I’m down that road and it’s a hot mess for a stranger.

Don’t you know I’m going as fast as I can, but I can’t keep chasen’.
For me you won’t be slowen’, all our lives have been forgotten.
You forget mine went to pieces, so little do you know or wonder what I go through.
Life must be easy, you’ve never been down that road.

And you don’t stop to think of all the commotion, that I must undergo without my independence.
6 years is along time to be trapped in sandy places.
But I’m down that road and it’s heading into the setting sun.
I’m down that road, where the pavements baked to ashes.

It’s a hell trying attempting to live, when half the time you’ve been forgotten.
Too much effort, too much years, too much going on in your lives.
But I’m down that road no one gave me a choice about it.
I’m down that road and I’m afraid that you’ve forgotten.